|Oliver, Oliver, never before has a boy wanted more|
For the last three years Louise Ryan Vocal School has been putting on stage musicals in Cardiff, giving children and young people the opportunity to audition for, and perform in, a professional style show during the February half term. Rehearsals start in the previous September, and so does the costume design!
The first musical, back in 2011, was Oliver and I only did a few costumes - for my son who was playing Oliver. Those were the days.
In 2012, LRVS put on Suessical the Musical and I volunteered to help out with the costumes. I was quickly informed I was now Wardrobe Mistress and told to go away and create over 60 costumes for the whole cast. If you fancy finding out more, I wrote a number of blogs last year on Making the Costumes for Seussical the Musical - you can find all five of them here. Whew!
|Oh, the thinks you can think!|
|Brown paper packages tied up with strings!|
One of the earliest I made was an Austrian style dress for my daughter about five or six years ago. She did a song and dance routine "These are a Few of My Favourite Things" from The Sound of Music. And yes, the dress was made from an actual old curtain.
Ok, so the design wasn't exactly authentic - instead of a gathered dirndl it had a full circle skirt suitable for a lyrical ballet dance, and I needed to redo the white bodice in stretchy lycra to allow her to breathe while singing and dancing at the same time! I've found a few books on costume design for plays and film where authenticity is important, even down to the undergarments. But I've discovered that great musical theatre costumes need to create a sense of the character while allowing ease of movement and breathing room.
2013 is a very special year for Louise Ryan as she has been teaching for 25 years! She has helped hundreds and hundreds of students, a number of whom have gone on to very sucessful singing and stage careers.
So the LRVS show this year was extra special - showcasing extracts from not one, but three, musicals! The Sound of Music, Les Miserables and We Will Rock You - three very different productions that demonstrate the wide range of vocal and acting skills LRVS nurtures and develops. These showcases also supported the BTEC Performing Arts examinations the school now offers pupils, providing lots of opportunities for leading ladies and men, as well as supporting and ensemble roles and some huge choral numbers.
So it was back to the discount fabric shops and scouring eBay for suitable fabrics and vintage clothes. My house soon resembled those Austrian hills, with mountains of material (including curtains!) and half-transformed garments in every room.
I'll share some pictures and costume stories from each of the different musicals over the next few months.